Continuing on with our series after talking about Tennessee, we have the North Carolina Tar Heels. After posting an abysmal 3-9 record, the Tar Heels will be trying to restore some of their credibility that they had from the previous two seasons. They will be depending on the offense to bounce back after they battled through injuries much of the previous season, and are leaning heavily on wide receiver Anthony Ratliff-Williams. He had a breakout year finishing as the teams leader in: yards, catches, and touchdowns. Heading into the Fall 2018 season, there’s a heated battle for the QB1 spot between Chazz Surratt and Nathan Elliot. Defensively, they were among the worst in the country, but do have a lot of experience coming back on the defensive line. They do have to make replacements in the back seven, but shouldn’t be much worse than last year.

Last Years Rankings

Offensive YPG- 95th

Points Per Game- 85th

Offensive Efficiency- 82nd

Defensive YPG- 103rd

Points Allowed- T-88th

Defensive Efficiency- 63rd

Recruiting Class of 2018:

https://247sports.com/college/north-carolina/Season/2018-Football/Commits/

Projected Lineup:

http://www.ourlads.com/ncaa-football-depth-charts/depth-chart/north-carolina/91395

Schedule

Game 1: at California

California is not good, but they do have a formidable offense–as you would expect in the Pac-12–and this will be decided by whoever makes one stop on the defense. Based on experience with the offense, I’m giving this one to the Golden Bear’s. They’ll win in a shootout.

Result: Loss

Record: 0-1

Game 2: at ECU

A game that you expect North Carolina to win, but I think they’ll be challenged by the Pirates. They STINK, but they can still put up points in bunches and I don’t trust North Carolina to stop others from scoring, even the lightweights, so I expect a battle between these two. Even though ECU gives it a good fight, I think the Tar Heels pull this one out.

Result: Win

Record: 1-1

Game 3: vs UCF

Taking on the AAC champs–but not CFP champs because that’s only for people in denial–it will be another week where UNC has to put up a lot of offense to win again. UCF didn’t lose much firepower on the offensive side, but it will be a tougher fight now that Frost is gone. It will go back and forth, but UCF pulls this one late.

Result: Loss

Record: 1-2

Game 4: vs Pitt

This’ll be a brutal dogfight. Understand the circumstances: first conference game after dropping a deuce last year. Both teams have big question marks at the QB position, time will tell who’ll have the upper hand, but it comes down to that positional matchup. North Carolina wins this one.

Result: Win

Record: 2-2 (1-0)

Game 5: at Miami

This SHOULD be a locked up win for the Hurricanes, but if it’s anything like last year’s annual matchup, we may see another down-to-the-wire contest. Miami is a good team, but they’ve had a tendency to play to the level of their opponents and North Carolina could hang around for a while. In the end, Miami will remember who they are and North Carolina will fall to 1-1 in the ACC.

Result: Loss

Record: 2-3 (1-1)

Game 6: vs Virginia Tech

Another game where North Carolina is going as the heavy underdog. They will be playing a team who can match them offensively, and are much better on defense and coaching. This game won’t be like Miami where they hang around. It will be a blowout from beginning to end.

Results: Loss

Record: 2-4 (1-2)

Game 7: at Syracuse

Syracuse started 2017 with a 4-3 record, beat Clemson and hung around against vastly superior teams like LSU and Miami. The Orange will use this game to make a statement and unfortunately for the Tar Heels, they’ll be on the wrong end of it.

Result: Loss

Record: 2-5 (1-3)

Game 8: at Virginia

Ugh. Probably the worst teams in the ACC, but the game has to be played. Virginia puts points on the scoreboard every so often, but most of the time… they don’t. One of the few times I expect North Carolina to play well defensively. This will be a game to forget for those who watch it.

Results: Win

Record: 3-5 (2-3)

Game 9: vs Georgia Tech

I love watching Georgia Tech sometimes. This won’t be one of those times. We will get a battle of the spread offense vs. the ol’ triple option offense. Obviously, the better team will be who controls the pace to their style. In this case, it will be the Yellow Jackets.

Result: Loss

Record: 3-6 (2-4)

Game 10: at Duke

This is NOT–I repeat, this is NOT the Duke-UNC match up you want to watch. Duke every now and again can assemble a decent squad so it is going to be tough to judge how they do this early before the season starts. Based solely on last season’s success, Duke wins this one.

Result: Loss

Record: 3-7 (2-5)

Game 11: vs West Carolina

I mean, it’s West Carolina.

Result: Win

Record: 4-7 (2-5)

Game 12: vs North Carolina State

The state rival. Should be an OK game. NCSU is missing a huge chunk of what made them good last year, so it could be better than expected, but it’s so tough to see the Tar Heels grinding out this win. Closing out another disappointing season on a sour note.

Result: Loss

Record: 4-8 (2-6)

Summary

Whether or not you think this is a bit harsh, North Carolina simply isn’t good. There’s a slim chance that all of the sudden they can stop the run and a few unexpected players breakout this year. You never know of course, but if you’re a betting man, I wouldn’t bet too much on the over of their projected win total–which is 5 wins.

 

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